The pilgrimage to Abbey Road
A few days ago, I finally made the long-awaited pilgrimage to Abbey Road.
The famous crosswalk in front of Abbey Road Studios is still right where it was in the late 60s, when the Beatles walked across it for the photo that became one of the most iconic album covers in history.
I took the long way from the tube, just so I could walk up to the crossing from the direction in which the photo was taken. Here’s what it looks like today:
What’s kind of funny to watch is the tourists all trying to walk across while friends or family members try to take their picture. It’s funny because Abbey Road is a busy street near Maida Vale, and London motorists are not very patient. There isn’t a stop sign (these don’t really exist in London) or traffic light, so people are really taking a risk that a frustrated driver won’t run them over.
Right next to the crossing is Abbey Road Studios, which is still to this day a full, working studio. A very exclusive one, I might add (I tried to get in, to no avail).
There’s also the old graffiti-filled wall in front of the studios, where fans from all around the world have written messages, inscribed Beatles lyrics and tagged with whatever came to mind.
I had brought along a Sharpie, intending on doing the same, but when I got there, I realized I hadn’t thought about what to write. I scanned my mind for meaningful Beatles lyrics less generic than “All you need is love.”
Finally, I landed on something that hit me with overwhelming clarity and finality. Mine is along the very bottom of the wall:
As I carefully wrote the lyric from the Abbey Road song “The End,” a little girl squatted down next to me, watching curiously and intently. When I finished writing, I asked her if she wanted to use my marker to write on the wall. She nodded shyly, taking the Sharpie from me. Without any hesitation, right next to the line I had just written, she scrawled:
“Paul is cute.”
There will never be another band as captivating to a larger audience than the Beatles.
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